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Energy Boss Warns: Dam or Run Out of Electric

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Energy Boss Warns: Dam or Run Out of Electric

Kárahnjukavirkjun hydro power plant

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Iceland needs to orient its framework agenda on energy production in a way that not only considers the impacts of damming more of the highlands, but also the impacts of running out of electricity. So says head of marketing and business development at power company Landsvirkjun.

Landsvirkjun says there is massive demand for clean and green energy, which is only growing year-on-year.

Björgvin Skúli Sigurðsson, Landsvirkjun head of marketing and business development, says that the demand is coming from many different areas, including industry and the general public, RÚV reported.

“Landsvirkjun opened Kárahnjúkar in 2007 and the next dam after that was Búðarhálsvirkjun which opened last year and provides about 90 MW, but the increase in demand for electricity in the last two years has been about 90 MW. It is coming from heavy industry—we have made an expansion contract with Rio Tinto Alcan—but it is also from data centers, it’s from electric cars, fishmeal factories, it is from hotels, it’s from the tourism industry and all sorts of diverse industries which are now coming on. The Icelandic economy is gaining speed and so is the country’s electricity consumption. We are looking at cruise ships which sail around the country and use between 10 and 15 megawatts of power. Somewhere along the line it’ll go pear shaped if the supply is not enough,” Björgvin says.

His words come at a strategic time, as parliament and public debate the pros and cons of more hydro dams in Iceland’s pristine highlands. Environmentalists argue that the country needs less heavy industry, not more dams. The opposite side to the argument is economic, as always.

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